Memory Lane: Seitan Parmesan

Before I was vegan, I was briefly vegetarian-- although all of my friends and family joked with me that I had been a vegetarian all my li...

Before I was vegan, I was briefly vegetarian-- although all of my friends and family joked with me that I had been a vegetarian all my life, because I wouldn't ever eat any meat. Honestly, I just didn't like the taste of it. I got tired of chewing for so long! I was no official vegetarian, and ate my fair share of McDonald's chicken nuggets, fish and chips, and orange chicken from Chinese food restaurants as a teen. But when it came time for Thanksgiving, I wanted no part of that dry dead bird, definitely held my nose on Easter when it was ham-time, and would barely even take a bite if I was served steak. I was all about the mac-and-cheese, fettuccine alfredo, grilled cheese-- and if we ever went out to an Italian restaurant-- Eggplant parmesan. I first was introduced to eggplant at Mystic Pizza, where my family would take us every summer. They are famous for their Moussaka pizza, which had eggplant, meatball and cheese. I think a family friend would always order it and everyone would say how I wouldn't like it because it has eggplant which is slimy and gross. And so I was afraid of it. 

Then at some point in my teenage or young adult years, I order a pizza that had breaded eggplant on it and had my mind blown as to how good a substitute it makes for a meaty component of a meal. I was hooked ever since and ordered the eggplant parmesan far more times than I care to admit at Olive Garden. I was so excited that I found a tasty version of chicken! I was probably the only kid in this country who prefered eggplant to chicken, but I totally did and though gone are the days of Olive Garden and their eggplant parmesan, I still get my kicks at home, using this homemade hack. Alex, however, is a certified eggplant-hater, but a seitan-lover, and since seitan is way more delicious than chicken, and way less terrible for everyone, we pretty much just make this dish with seitan instead. The classic dish is sort of a gastronomical commitment, and though you absolutely must serve with with pasta, maybe try and throw in as many veggies as will fit on yr plate.
To make this, I just dredged my seitan cutlets (from Super Fun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook) in some seasoned flour, dipped it in a cornstarchy sticky-bath, and then into some Italian breadcrumbs. Then I seared it on both sides, and then I was done :) You could definitely use some vegan cheese on top, or make Chloe's vegan Mozzarella sauce to have on top, but I just sprinkled on a mixture of ground blanched almonds, nooch and lemon zest as my parmesan-style topping and it was no worse for the wear. I understand this photo is not my greatest work of all time, but the comforting memories and my lovely anecdotes will hopefully keep ya comin' back for more.

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  1. I swear that lots of little kids hate meat because it takes so long to chew! I've been asked by parents for recipes because their kids hate meat. I stay right the heck out of there because well.... most of the time it is just that kids are picky, or play a power game with their parents.

    Mystic Pizza like the one in Maine? Like the movie? I remember going up to Maine and one time passing by it and my parents made a big fuss about it. I never saw the movie so I didn't care. I also remember arguing with my co-worker at a video rental store whether the movie was a comedy or not. I said it was a comedy, even if she didn't think it was funny.

    1. It's the one in the movie! It's in Mystic, CT though, not in Maine! Maybe I would consider the movie a quirky drama? Very iconic 80s <333

    2. Ah! It must of been when we were going up or coming back from Maine. I young enough to not really care which state I was in lol